Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images
Amazing how one goal can determine how successful a road trip was. If the Capitals win 2-1 vs the Calgary Flames on Sunday night they go 2-1 on the road trip and it was a great trip. Yet they lose 2-1 in Calgary and now the road trip was not so great.
It was a bad game vs Vancouver and a very good game vs Edmonton. Naturally this one was going to be the decider. We’ll talk more about the game in a bit, but first let’s get to the charts.
Shots and Chances
One disappointing thing about the Corsi chart is the Capitals were down 1-0 going into the third period, got their goal and didn’t get many attempts after that. The goal came on the 30th attempt of the game, and as you see they finished with 35 attempts. They got five attempts in about sixteen minutes.
Not many attempts and not many chances.
Calgary did a much better job of getting to the net. Watching the game, this chart is definitely accurate. Philipp Grubuaer was much busier and more tested than the Flames Mike Smith.
The three guys you see with a 50% or better Corsi% were the only guys Washington had at or over 50%. Dmitri Orlov, for the third straight game, led the Capitals in shot attempts +/- , but I once again had him giving up more scoring chances than generating them. I had him responsible for two scoring chances against and just one for. Take into account that I’m stingy with scoring chances.
Brooks Orpik, who was a -17 in shot attempts, allowed 32 chances against while on the ice. Evgeny Kuznetsov was second worst in that category, allowing 23. Orpik was getting attempts against him all night long.
Along with Jakub Vrana, T.J. Oshie had a good night, as he finished the night a -1.
A rebound night for the Caps in the faceoff circle. On Saturday night vs the Oilers the Capitals won only 39% of the total draws. Against the Flames, Washington won 55% of the draws and three of their four centers were at, or over 50%. Kuznetsov had a rare good night and Eller had a rare off night. Jay Beagle once again led the way winning 80% of his faceoffs.
Other faceoff takers:
T.J. Oshie: 3 of 4
Chandler Stephenson: 1 of 2
Jakub Vrana: 1 of 1
I thought Grubauer was very good tonight. For some reason he can’t seem to get the team to play very well in front of him, so far this season. He stopped a lot of good chances for the Flames including a 4 on 1 late in the game. An unfortunate game for him, as he deserved better.
Special teams came up empty for both sides, as both teams went 0/2 on their power play. It’s the second game in a row the Capitals have allowed zero power play goals. The penalty kill allowed some chances and I thought it was better against the Oilers than it was tonight vs the Flames, but a zero is a zero.
Overall, It just seemed the Capitals could never get offense going. There were too many defensive and neutral zone turnovers that really slowed the Caps down all night. That ended up being the difference in the score as well. An Orlov turnover at the offensive blue line gave the Flames their 2-1 lead, thanks to a great play by Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau.
Also, an Evgeny Kuznetsov turnover right at center ice led to a too many men on the ice penalty with 2:34 left in the third period. That pretty much iced the game as the Capitals got the extra attacker on very late and the extra attacker really only made the game 5v5 instead of 6v5.
Along with the turnovers while transitioning, I thought the Capitals lost a lot of races and battles in the defensive zone. That gave Calgary a lot of zone time throughout the game and it surely made the attempts battle lopsided in the Flames favor.
This game, to me, felt a little worse than a 2-1 loss.
The Caps now return home. Up next, division rival New York Islanders on Thursday night.
By CJ Witt